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Man and Wife by Robert Lowell

  • Word Count: 1073
  • Approx Pages: 4


In 1959, Robert Lowell wrote a marvelous set of poems in a book called “Life Studies”.

One of his well known poem in this book is “Man and Wife”. Man and Wife deals with

a theme of personal tragedy typical of the Life Studies series. “The content of the poem

reflects a troubled marriage which can be seen when the author compares living with his

wife before and after he got married. In my view, the poet contrasted this poem skillfully

and reflected that he was very well read in classical poetry.

The author begins the poem by stating “ Tamed by Miltown , / we lie on Mother bed”.

This opening statement shows that he has been tranquilized (Miltown) with a drug and

he is lying on his mother bed along with his wife remembering his own mother and father

situation when they were married . He is so much into this drug that he is now used to it

and it doesn’t even effect him at all . The sun in second line is described as an Indian

warrior who "dyes red" the speaker and his wife upon its rising which shows that they are

getting ready to fight with each other as if they are in war . Usually sunrises express

happiness and start of new beginning but in this case it represents disagreement and thus

the end to couple’s relationship. In the third line of the poem the speaker describes the

bed-posts as shining, which is ironic because it is non living object which is receiving

the sun shine but the couple is not because there relationship is into dark sunset. .

However , the condition which causes the poet to feel totally abandoned in his

relationship is described by the term Dionysian ( Greek festival God) which shows that

he is so lost into his own world of unconsciousness that he doesn’t even know that his

relationship is ruining. The significance of magnolia as a symbol in the phrase “At last

the trees are gre...

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Man and Wife by Robert Lowell. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 06:37, July 24, 2016, from